AN "EPIC" record-breaking row taken on by a team of Southampton doctors and nurses has raised £36,000 towards a state-of-the-art children's department.

Eleven members of staff from University Hospital Southampton arrived to a heroes welcome in Ocean Village earlier this month (June 9), after a gruelling 28-hour row from Jersey to Southampton.

The route, never attempted before, has raised £36,000 for a new state-of-the-art £5.1-million children's emergency and trauma department at Southampton General Hospital.

Dubbed as "epic" by five-time Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave, the team of doctors and nurses had been aiming for £20,000 when they departed.

Arriving back on June 9, the rowers had managed to navigate one of the busiest shipping channels in the world.

David James, who works in paediatric emergency medicine, took part in the row.

He said: "This was a gruelling challenge for the whole team and was only made possible by the huge support we had already received from family and friends.

"We are so excited to hear how much money we have raised for the new department which we know will improve the care we can provide to children and young people not only in Southampton but across the entire region."

The facility, due to be fully operational by spring 2019, will see more than 30,000 youngsters across the south treated every year.

To fund the project, Southampton Hospital Charity has partnered with The Murray Parish Trust to raise £2 million. This will be matched by the government, and a further £1.1-million allocated by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Suzie Simmons, head of fundraising, said: "This was a phenomenal once-in-a-lifetime challenge for our staff to undertake, and an amazing accomplishment for them to actually achieve.

"They all put in so much time to train for this event, and they should be very proud of what they have done.

"Without our sponsors, this challenge would not have been possible, so we want to say a special thank you."

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